Friday, October 3, 2008

Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells

This is perfect rainy day supper food. Fall is here and we want carbs. We want warm dishes. The cheese will give you lots of good protein, and fills you up.

I made this for a 'girls lunch' at my friend Emma's house. I thought about doubling the recipe, and freezing the extra... I'm soooo glad I didn't. The original recipe makes a TON. The recipe made enough for 5 people to stuff themselves silly at lunch, plus 2 extra 2-person pans of shells to freeze for later. I brought one of the extra's to Emma as well, since she's due with a baby anytime and it will be perfect for those hectic days, learning to deal with a toddler AND infant. Good golly, let the rein of terror begin!

Overall, the recipe was very easy. Other than making the smokey marinara sauce (which really is easy), and cooking the pasta shells, the rest is just assembly. You can use jarred marinara (try to find a smokey flavor, it was tasty!), to make this even easier. I really liked the smokey marinara though, and have since made it twice - for the shells, and on a lasagne. Wunderbar (wonderful)!

Definitely a worthy fall dinner. I hope you have the chance to make this one.

Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells
from CookingLight

1 pound jumbo shell pasta (40 shells)
Cooking spray
1 (12-ounce) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese (I used Romano)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 cups Smokey Marinara Sauce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375. Coat 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes with cooking spray; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside. (toss with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil to keep from sticking)

Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago, and next 6 ingredients (Asiago through spinach).

Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange half of stuffed shells, seam sides up, in one prepared dish. Pour 3 cups Smoky Marinara over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat procedure with remaining stuffed shells, Smoky Marinara, and mozzarella in remaining prepared dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm with crusty bread and a salad.

To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5 (Since I couldn't figure out what 'step 5' was, I prepared the entire dish, through sprinkling the cheese on top - which I do think is correct). Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Preheat oven to 375. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover frozen casserole with reserved foil; bake at 375ยบ for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the shells are thoroughly heated.

Additional stuffed pasta recipes:
- Kale and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, from Gluten-Free Bay
- Enchilada Stuffed Shells, from Allrecipes
- Broccoli and Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells, from Sugar Rush
- Crab Stuffed Baked Shells, from Gortons. (YUM, these are on my to-make list!)

Guten appetit!


Grace said...

I just read your sweet note on my blog! Thanks for your well wishes!

I have to say that everything that you have blogged about lately sounds delicious and I can't keep up with you! I look forward to trying some of them out soon!


Grace said...

I noticed that the link to the green beans with peanut sauce recipe wasn't working, so I am sending the link to her archives where it's located. There are some other yummy looking vegetarian dishes too! Enjoy! Have a great weekend!

laura said...

@ Grace, thank you! I am loving the molliekatzen website, and have big plans next week for her carrot and ginger soup. Yum.